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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference On 12 February, 2004


On the afternoon of 12 February 2004, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue held a regular press conference.

Zhang Qiyue: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.Let me begin with an announcement. At the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, President Runaldo Venetiaan of the Republicof Surinamewill pay a working visit to China starting from22 February 2004.

Now I am ready for questions.

Q: Can you make a general comment on President Bush's speech today on the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)? And what is your comment on the issues concerning the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), the reform of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and DPRK in his statement?

A: I have taken note of  the speech made by US President Bush on the issue of proliferation of  WMD.China is firmly opposed to the proliferation of WMD and their delivery vehicles, and always stands for stronger international cooperation in this field.China and theUS share common interests on this point.

In recent years,China has adopted a series of specific measures to strengthen its export control system, promulgated comprehensive regulations on export control, and improved its overall legal system on the non-proliferation export control.The Chinese side is also ready to take stricter measure to implement those laws and regulations already promulgated, so as to ensure the effectiveness of China's non-proliferation policy.

Since a lot of people are interested in this question, I would like to brief you on some of the specific measures.For example, in recent years, Chinahas begun consultation and exchange with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and adopted policies and measures similar to those of the NSG inChina's nuclear export control system.China has officially applied for NSG membership, which is an important measure taken by the Chinese side to support international non-proliferation efforts.

In addition, in the past few years,China has also held close consultation and exchange with members of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).In formulating its regulations and list of missile export control, China drew  upon a lot  from MTCR guidelines and relevant annexes.In May last year, MTCR Chairman sent a letter to Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, reaffirming that MTCR members were in principle very interested in China's participation into MTCR.In his letter back to MTCR Chairman, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing clearly expressed thatChinawas actively considering its application for MTCR membership.A Chinese delegation is currently in Parisfor the first round of dialogue with MTCR members. All these, as China's non-proliferation efforts, have reflected its willingness to strengthen international cooperation.

On the issue of PSI,China also shows its concern on the possible proliferation of WMD and their delivery vehicles, and supports international non-proliferation efforts.At the same time, we believe that the issue of proliferation shall be resolved through political and diplomatic means within the framework of international laws, and all non-proliferation measures shall contribute to peace, security and stability in the region and the world at large.

On the issue of strengthening IAEA, China supports the fundamental goal of non-proliferation, and is ready to have earnest discussions on relevant proposals.

You also mentioned the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsular.China's position on this issue is very explicit.All our proposals and efforts are aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsular, preserving a nuclear-weapon free Peninsular, and resolving the current nuclear issue through dialogues.China believes that the six party talks offer the best framework for resolving the current issue.The second round of the six party talks will be held on the 25th of  this month, which will start once again the dialogue process of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsular.China also believes that once we are on the right track, we should ensure that the wheels are able to turn, and continue to move forward.

Q: After the death of Chinese cockle pickers on the Morecambe Bay, is China considering sending police liaison officers to the UK? My second question. During an interview with the Chinese media, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, said that the EU had started discussions on lifting arm-sales embargo on China,  and lifting the embargo was no longer an obstacle to China-EU relations, although there was not yet a specific timetable.What is your comment?

A: Regarding whether China is sending police liaison officers to the UK to help resolve the recent tragedy, according to the information from the Ministry of Public Security, China has already dispatched police liaison officers to its embassies in six countries including the US and Japan, and is actively facilitating the dispatch of police liaison officers to other relevant countries including the UK.The main task for these police liaison officers is to conduct exchange and cooperation in police affairs with these countries.The mutual dispatch of police liaison officers is an effective measure taken by many countries against the backdrop of ever-severe international crimes, aimed at strengthening international law-enforcement cooperation.This decision is not made only after the tragedy of Chinese cockle pickers on theMorecambeBay.Actually, before that, the Chinese side had already started contact with relevant parties.

You also mentioned EU's discussion on lifting arms embargo onChina.We appreciate the statement made by Javier Solana.EU's arms embargo onChinais an out-dated rule and relic of the Cold War.We hope that members of the EU would carefully handle this issue, proceed from the overall consideration of China-EU relationship, and make the decision to lift the embargo on China soon as possible.

Q:US Secretary of State Colin Powell recently clearly stated that the US was opposed to the referendum to be held inTaiwan this March.What is your comment?

A: During Premier Wen Jiabao's official visit to the US last year, US President Bush clearly expressed that the US side would adhere to the one-China policy, observe the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, oppose Taiwan independence, and oppose any words or actions aimed at unilaterally changing the status quo.We appreciate the statement of the US side.We have stressed many times that the Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-U.S. relations.We hope that theUSside would properly handle this question in light of the principles in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués.

Q: Has the duration of the second round of the six party talks been decided?

A: The duration of the second round of the six party talks has not yet been finalized.Relevant parties are still in the process of consultation.Maybe you have noticed that there are many consultations going on recently.Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi just visitedJapan, and he will also go to ROK. The Chinese side is also having consultations with the US,Russia and DPRK.The specific duration of the talks will be arranged after further consultations.

Q: Why is it that the duration for the second round of the six party talks cannot be finalized?How long doesChinahope the talks to last? In addition,US Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday that since the Presidential election and the referendum inTaiwanwill soon be held, it was not a proper time for EU to consider lifting arms embargo onChinaat the present stage.What is your comment?

A: The duration of the second round of the six party talks is related to the specific arrangements of the entire talks. The parties concerned are having consultations over the organization and arrangements of the talks.We will brief you timely as soon as such information is available.

With regard to the statement of US Secretary of State Colin Powell on EU's discussion on lifting arms embargo on China, I have already expressed the position of the Chinese side on this issue.EU's arms embargo on China is the relic of the Cold War.It is an anachronistic or out-dated rule which is detrimental to China-EU relationship. China-EU relationship has enjoyed rapid development in the past few years.During the previous two days, in order to implement the consensus reached in China-EU leaders' meeting, the two sides held the China-EU Seminar on Policy Papers, reaching broad consensus on strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides.We believe that within the framework of this partnership relations,China and EU will see faster development of their dialogue and cooperation in all fields.It is our hope that along with the growth and deepening of this relationship, this anachronism would be comprehensively resolved as soon as possible.

Q: U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith just concluded his visit to China.How does China think of US's global military posture, in particular, its concept of capability approach?During the Sino-US defense consultations, did they talk about the peace-keeping operations in Liberia?

A: The sixth round of the Sino-U.S. defense consultations between the vice ministers of defense which just concluded was positive and constructive.Defense consultations between the two countries are symbols for the normalization of military-to-military exchanges between them, and it is also an effective mechanism to maintain the development of military-to-military relations between them.During the consultation, the two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues.The two sides also reviewed the development of military-to-military relations between them since the fifth round of defense consultations, briefed each other on their respective military development, and the program for their military-to-military exchanges in the year 2004.In fact, since the later half of last year, the two sides have held many discussions at working levels, and formulated this year' sprogram for their military-to-military exchanges.This year's exchanges between them will have richer contents and cover more areas, including not only high-level exchanges, but also exchanges between their colleges, some regular exchanges, and exchange of port calls.For example, the seventh fleet flagship "Blue Ridge" of the US navy is going to visit Shanghai from the 24th to 28th February.At present, the two sides are actively making preparations for this visit.We are very glad to see the constant development of military-to-military exchanges between the two countries. According to my knowledge, the peace-keeping operations in Liberia were not discussed during their consultations.

After the press conference, Zhang was asked to give the latest information on the death of Chinese citizens in the UK. Zhang said that the Chinese Consulate General in Manchesterhas established rapid report system with the British police, and the latter gives daily briefings to the consulate on the latest development of the case.According to current information, seven people who are involved in the case have been arrested.Among them, two are British citizens that surrendered to the police, four are Chinese, and the identity of the other one remains unknown. Among the 14 people who have been rescued, 11 have been allowed to return home.As for the identity of the victims, the British police are still in the process of verification.The Chinese side has asked the British side for the documents relating to the identity of the victims.However, the British side has not yet provided them to the Chinese side. The Chinese embassy and consulates in the UK will continue to follow closely the development of this case, assist the British side in verifying the identity of the victims, and offer consular assistance to the Chinese citizens.

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